An affordable link-building strategy: Use downloadable content to increase inbound links, drive website traffic and build online friendships
Search engine optimized Rapid Conversion Landing Pages convert casual visitors into loyal email subscribers.
One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is about how our Mequoda Daily website achieves such high conversion rates when all of the site’s content is free.
Virtually every word of the Mequoda Daily email editorial content is also available on our website without charge, yet we have an average email conversion rate (ECR) of 6.4 percent. (Email Conversion Rate is a calculation of the number of new email subscribers divided by the number of unique visitors.)
In fact, over the past 30 days, Mequoda Daily generated more than 881 new email subscribers on 12,108 unique visitors. That’s a ECR of 7.3 percent!
Unique visitors are counted as any arrival on any page of the Mequoda Website Network. The site visitor might enter through the Mequoda Daily, the Mequoda Summit, the About page — even one of the commercial sections. Unique visitors may or may not have encountered aggressive conversion architecture.
Essentially, your website’s Email Conversion Rate (ECR) is analogous to a retailer calculating how many people signed up for the retailer’s free postal newsletter divided by how many people entered the store.
So how does Mequoda Daily achieve such a high Email Conversion Rate? For the same reason we have so many incoming links. The secret is valuable downloadable content.
We offer a range of downloadable free reports, which we call white papers, using well-crafted Rapid Conversion Landing Pages.
Depending on the page at which they first enter the site, most first-time visitors to Mequoda.com are confronted with a floating order form that enables them to enter an email address and gain immediate access to a white paper.
The astonishing marketing power of free reports
Free downloadable content is a juggernaut that drives website traffic, encourages incoming links, and fuels our exceptional conversion rates. And the quality of our incoming links is high, because they originate at the websites of our publishing industry colleagues and friendly competitors.
Some website publishers run sweepstakes and offer unrelated incentives to sign up for a free email newsletter, but their results usually are disappointing. That’s because offering a sweepstakes will get you links from other sweepstakes websites, but generally will not result in quality subscribers from your affinity group.
The trickery and chicanery of sweepstakes and link farming sites are of little long-term value, can diminish your brand, and harm your reputation.
But offer a free report that matches your target audience’s interests, and you can hit the jackpot with numerous qualified new subscribers who value your branded editorial content.
Three best practice examples of publishers offering valuable free downloads:
- The World’s Best Golf Destinations 2008-2009 offered by Golf Vacation Insider.
- Five Free Sock Knitting Patterns offered by Knitting Daily.
- Eleven Little-Known Strategies for Getting Discount Business Class Airfare offered by First Class Flyer.
Like Mequoda, these publishers give away reports of eight, 12, or even 20 pages that could easily sell for as much as $50. Because the reports are relevant to their target market, the “right” people — potential paying customers — sign up. In turn, the new email subscribers frequently link to these websites, providing valuable, third party validation and endorsements.
Additionally, the links are from the “right” publishers, who are linking for the “right” reasons. The process is natural and endemic, and the endorsements are from other publishers within a respected circle of influence.
The more valuable, free reports you release to your existing readers and potential email subscribers, the better. In many instances, these can be created by combining, rewriting or recycling content that you previously published in a different format.
Mequoda Daily currently offers nine free white papers, and we plan to add more during the coming months.
Offering free downloads is fundamental to effective website marketing. It’s the most productive strategy for harnessing the power of your brand and using your existing editorial content to build your customer database.
For additional details on how to build email circulation using public relations and link building, join Mequoda Pro for the astonishing low, charter membership fee of only $197.